Saturday, July 6, 2013

Saturday Emmylou Blogging

Uploaded on Aug 22, 2011
"In My Hour of Darkness" written and performed by Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris with harmony vocal by Linda Ronstadt is from Grievous Angel, Gram Parsons' second solo album, recorded in 1973 and released the following year on the Reprise label. The personnel on the album included Glen D. Hardin on piano, James Burton on lead guitar, and Bernie Leadon on dobro guitar. The album is available on CD combined with his first album GP.

Thanks to catman916.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Are conservatives winning the battle but losing the war?

Let's hope. The Week, links at site.

Their short-term political victories may bring them long-term electoral pain.
It had better, or else the American people are truly brain-dead and deserve whatever they get and thanks a great steaming pile if we do.

Recall that when conservatives did not have a clear court majority, they railed against '"judicial activism." Now that they have the capacity to impose their will, many of the same conservatives defend extreme acts of judicial activism by claiming they involve legitimate interpretations of the true meaning of the Constitution. It is an inconsistency that tells us all we need to know. This is not an argument about what the Constitution says. It is a battle for power. And, despite scattered liberal triumphs, it is a battle that conservatives are winning. [Washington Post]

Immediately after the Supreme Court's Voting Rights Act ruling, six southern states moved with breathtaking speed to put in place measures effectively aimed at suppressing voters who favor Democrats. But it's a double-edged sword. As The New York Times' Ross Douthat notes, the ruling is a "gift from the Roberts court for Democrats" because it will help them mobilize the party base, provide a rallying point, and be a potent fundraising tool.

So a lengthy battle over voting rules and voting rights seems almost precision-designed to help the Obama-era Democratic majority endure once President Obama has left the Oval Office... Liberal demagogy notwithstanding, voter ID laws aren't a way for Republicans to turn the clock back and make sure that it's always 1965. But they are a good way for Republicans to ensure that African-Americans keep voting like it's always 2008. [New York Times]

The stage seems set for the party's nearly-complete takeover by the hard-right. Conservative court victories will likely continue dismantling key pieces of New Deal-New Frontier-Great Society programs — and traditional political assumptions. Republicans will cement their hold on conservative, southern, and mostly white districts with continued hyper-partisan rhetoric and gerrymandering that pushes the party further right — and will continue to hold the House.
I'm hoping against hope that folks will get the message that these throwback obstructionist congressmen are what we get if we blow off mid-term elections as happened in 2010. Gerrymandering or not, the only reason these clowns get in is because the Tea Party knows they can prevail if they show up. That has got to change or we're permanently screwed.

Headline of the Day

Edward Snowden Joins Goldman Sachs, Receives Full Pardon

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Conservatives don’t dance

If it's Wednesday it must be Morford on all the new gay equality.

Is it like this across conservative America, too? Are there any smart, shimmering towns full of hardcore Republicans that frequently erupt in spontaneous outpourings of joy and wild bliss after some major sociocultural upheaval lands in its favor?

Here is my guess: Probably not.

Hey, I might be wrong. Do you know if tens of thousands of ecstatic citizens overflow the wine bars and buy up all the champagne in Utah and South Carolina whenever America, say, brutally invades some developing nation for its oil, or builds a new razor-wire fence against them damnable Mexicans, or when some duplicitous cardinal from the Catholic Church works like a demon to shield millions of church dollars from sex abuse victims?

What about spontaneous, screaming hugs and rampant tongue kisses in the street in Alabama and Mississippi when SCOTUS gutted the Voting Rights Act, or when North Dakota passed the most hateful anti-choice laws in America, or when Kansas and Texas dumbed down their school textbooks to lobotomy/troglodyte levels?

Hey, there might’ve been; I admit I don’t live anywhere near America’s legendary sinkholes of regression and conservative panic. But I’ll just come right and suggest that there’s just no way ultraconservatives enjoy anything like the street-rattling, confetti-strewn, life-exploding celebrations of newfound liberation similar to what San Francisco – and nearly every other major educated, forward-thinking city and college town nationwide – enjoyed this past week.

Look at it this way: When Prop 8 passed the first time, there were no parades, no scowling crowds of Mormons stripping off their strange underwear and waving banners of joy in the streets, celebrating this new and nasty constraint on love. Oh sure, maybe some relief flooded the nation’s terrified fundamentalist megachurches, a slap or three was heard in Bill O’ Reilly’s fetish dungeon, maybe a few thousands Fox News homophobes tweeted their gay porn to each other, but that’s about it.

But when DOMA and Prop 8 died last week? Joy immeasurable. Joy unmistakable.

But to my mind, there are few more accurate indicators of constructive change than that wild, palpable buzz you find out in the streets after a major decision like Prop. 8; that intense, unmistakable lick and slap of upheaval that only comes when some hoary old roadblock has finally been blasted aside, when some rancid plug of conservative phlegm has been cleared from the collective throat. You know? Did you feel it, too?

I’m sure they didn’t feel it much in Texas. Or Alabama. Or Utah. Or Fox News. Or over in the dank dungeons of the Catholic Church, now even less relevant and compassionate, and even more hateful and antagonistic to all that is light and happy and free in the world, than ever before. Amazing, but true.
I'm happy for all the gay folks, of course, but I may be even happier that a very conservative SCOTUS managed to poke the finger of justice in the haters' eyes.

I hope Fat Tony's blood pressure blows the top of his head right off too. Heh.

Uppity Brown Guy Talks Back

A tip o' the Brain to Seniors for a Democratic Society.

The only possible response is "Hey, pissant, might makes right."

A Bolivian Steamer

El Rude-o on stopping President Morales' plane on spec that Snowden was aboard.

Let's give some advice here to the Obama administration. If you're gonna provoke an international incident, you better have a fucking photo of Snowden toasting Morales with a mini-bottle of vodka. Otherwise, you just look like an imperialist dickhead who knew he could bully the little brown leftist. You can bet that if Snowden had been getting banged by prostitutes wearing Biden masks on Vladmir Putin's jet, the flight wouldn't have been stopped at all. This is a big fucking deal, with leaders in Argentina and Peru (not just those putas in Ecuador and Venezuela) calling for a meeting of South American nations to respond.

Gotta say: this shit's embarrassing. Is this how the greatest superpower in the history of the whole goddamn world, as we're told again and again, is gonna act to try to catch a poindexter who handed flash drives to journalists? Snowden already gave away all that he had. Catching him ain't gonna stop a single secret from coming out anymore. It ain't worth pissing off an entire continent.

This whole thing feels so degrading, like getting a sweaty, drunken blumpkin in a festival port-a-potty.

Bolivian government officials are calling this incident a "kidnapping" of its president. And it's hard to argue. What would have happened if Snowden had been on the plane with the promise of asylum? Would we have arrested Morales as an accessory? How far would we go in violating international law just to show the world that only this America gets to decide what's right and wrong?

"Steamer" is right. This smells like a great big made-in-the-USA turd.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Neoconservatism: a CIA Front?

This article first appeared in 1997. I have no trouble believing it but I have no idea how true it all is. Presented strictly FYI. Take from it what you will.

Not long after the Central Intelligence Agency was founded in 1947, the American public and the world were subjected to an unprecedented level of propaganda in the service of US foreign policy objectives in the Cold War. The propaganda offensive of the government centered around its obsession with securing the emerging US-dominated world order in the wake of the Second World War. It was a time when Europe lay in ruins and when subservience to US planners, in government and business, was the order of the day.

The conservative movement that culminated in the elevation of Ronald Reagan to the presidency was a product of those turbulent Cold War years, and perhaps more so a product of domestic intervention by the security state than many of its participants would care to admit. The armchair warriors in the neoconservative camp and the inveterate interventionists at National Review can both trace their roots straight back to the propaganda efforts of the CIA.

Today, the war-mongering right is self-sustaining. Money flows like milk and honey to neoconservative activists from the major conservative foundations. Irving’s son Bill Kristol has his sugar daddy in the form of media tycoon and alien Rupert Murdoch. National Review is boring, but in no danger of going under financially.

At the height of the Cold War, opposition to interventionism was largely isolated to the anti-war Left. While marshaling an impressive analytic literature on the evils of US imperialism, particularly in the context of Viet Nam, the Left was suspect for its support of socialism and its sometimes overt sympathies for totalitarian regimes. On the right, things were different. Except for a noble band of libertarians lead by Murray Rothbard, conservatives and many libertarians were front and center in support of the security state and its nefarious activities. Now, virtually the entire right is opposed to interventionism. Traditionalists and even nationalist right-wingers are generally opposed to foreign military actions. The dominant anti-war force on the right is the growing number of explicitly isolationist libertarians, who want no truck with the warfare state on principle. The Weekly Standard acknowledged as much and identified Murray Rothbard as the guiding spirit behind today’s antistatist, antiwar movement. And the nonliberal left, lead by long-time noninterventionists like Noam Chomsky, remains opposed to US global hegemony. The neocons and their corporate liberal cronies are the only spokesman for militarism.

The grassroots are hated by the neocons for precisely that reason. The man on the street, the movement conservative, the Perot voter, the Libertarian Party man – they all want the troops brought home and the tyranny of the US empire brought to a halt. When the leaders of the empire try to talk down to normal people, they are jeered off the stage. The RRR position – no more war – is more and more the position of the American people. That’s a strike for peace and a strike for liberty.
At last, it seems as if there may be something I can agree with Libertarians (right-wing Anarchists, as opposed to Anarchists, who are left-wing Libertarians. It's confusing...) about. Scary thought.

A Message From The Terrified People Sitting Next To Pat Robertson

Goblinbooks. Several vids of an insane old christowhacko doing his thing, which is being an insane old christowhacko.

Hi. We're the folks sitting next to Pat Robertson. We'd like to make something clear to you: We're not bad people, okay? We don't agree with whatever crazy thing just came out of Pat's pie-hole. Most of the time, we are just as horrified as the rest of you. But the goddamn cameras are on us, and we need to keep this job.

Yes, we should say something. Yes, we should tell him he's a lunatic. Maybe even get up, take off our mikes, and storm out of there. But then what? Where would we go? What would we do? How would we keep our kids in school and the bank from taking our homes? Plus - and we are serious here - Pat would bide his time, and then someday he would take us down, Corleone-style. The guy's like Blackwater and the Church of Scientology had a baby and raised it in a racist tent revival. He's every villain from every 1980's action movie you've ever seen. You have no idea what he's capable of.

You know what a Communications degree from Regent University gets you? Fifty thousand dollars of debt and the ability to do TV work anywhere in Virginia Beach, VA. Which means you're fucked. This place is the media equivalent of one of those company mining towns where they pay you in scrip. When Pat sits down next to us and starts babbling about the demons... trust us, that is the least humiliating part of our day. But we're powerless. Pat owns us. He owns our souls.

There's a reason most of us are secret atheists. We know there's no hell after we die. Because we're still alive... and we're already here.
There's nothing I can add to that except maybe he'll be called home soon. Heh.

Monday, July 1, 2013

When Privacy Jumped The Shark

Daddy Frank's monthly feature article is up.

Note to Edward Snowden and his worrywarts in the press: Spying is only spying when the subject doesn’t want to be watched.

Good article as always, but I'm feeling lazy today so I'll cut to the chase:

Little short of a leak stating that the NSA is tracking gun ownership is likely to kindle public outrage.

There ya go. Yawn.

Oh, the irony...

Ironic Times

This time however, Democrats fight for the Union, Republicans the Confederacy.
A lot closer to the truth than it is ironic.

Supreme Court Invalidates Key Part of Voting Rights Act
By narrow margin of Justice Thomas's three-fifths of a vote

Twinkies Returning to Shelves
If date of expiration is 2053 or later, they're fresh.


We reported that Justice Antonin Scalia, in a fiery dissent in the Voting Rights Act case, slammed the majority for “invalidating this democratically adopted legislation. That is jaw-dropping. It is an assertion of judicial supremacy over the people's representatives in Congress and the executive.” In fact, Scalia was referring not to the Court's overturning the Voting Rights Act, but the Court's overturning the Defense of Marriage Act. We apologize for any confusion caused by our mistake.

I wonder if Fat Tony sees his own hypocrisy. It may be too deep for him.